About 100 jobs are to be created after two Midland firms won major contracts to help to build the next generation of military vehicles designed to increase protection for British troops in warzones.
Fifty jobs will be created at Coventry-based NP Aerospace and its supplier base after the firm, as part of its joint venture with US company Force Protection, was handed the contract to build Wolfhound, a six-wheeled version of the Mastiff armoured patrol vehicle.
And a further 50 jobs are set to be created in Worcestershire after Malvern-based engineering firm Dytecna won the contract to carry out vehicle modifications and install electronic and communication systems on the new all-terrain Husky support vehicle.
The £90 million Wolfhound contract will see the joint venture between NP Aerospace and Force Protection, called Integrated Survivability Technologies, deliver more than 90 heavy tactical support vehicles for the Ministry of Defence. The contract is worth more than £30 million for NP Aerospace.
The Wolfhound will provide a highly-protected load-carrying vehicle for tasks such as carrying ammunition, food and water, moving bulky material for use in building forward bases or as a gun tractor and gun limber for the Royal Artillery’s 105 Light Gun.
Mark Robertshaw, chief executive officer of Morgan Crucible, which owns NP Aerospace, said: “This is a further exciting development for the NP Aerospace business, securing a long-term strategic relationship with Force Protection and providing our customer with a truly integrated product offering.
“I am confident that this contract, which will provide NP Aerospace itself with revenue of in excess of £30 million, will be the start of a very successful future for our joint venture.”
Ministry of Defence chief operating officer for defence equipment and support Dr Andrew Tyler said: “This contract is an excellent example of how we are continuing to work with British industry to secure highly-skilled jobs and retain valued expertise in this ever changing market.”
Meanwhile, Malvern-based engineering firm Dytecna won the contract to carry out vehicle modifications and to install electronic and communication systems on the new Husky vehicle – the MoD’s “go anywhere” vehicle designed for troops serving in Afghanistan.
Dytecna is working with Navistar Defense, a US vehicle manufacturer based in Chicago, which has won a contract worth almost £200 million to build the all-terrain Husky support vehicle.
The deal will mean Dytecna will open a new manufacturing facility in Tewkesbury and expand its engineering design and production teams at the current Malvern site.
Dytecna group business development director Keith Mowbary said: “In these difficult economic times it is both encouraging and rewarding to announce a success that will not only see the business consolidate and retain existing staff levels but create up to 50 new jobs over the next 12 months.
“The award of this contract also raises the profile of the Dytecna business and will help in our being considered for future major projects in coming years.
“The experience, capability and capacity of Dytecna to deliver a wide range of services and products is now being fully recognised by clients, enabling the business to partner successfully on these larger programmes.”
The Husky is destined for a range of uses on the frontline, including transporting food, water and ammunition, acting as a command vehicle at headquarters and some will be fitted out as protected ambulances.
Husky will join its sister vehicles Wolfhound and Coyote as part of the £350 million Tactical Support Vehicle programme announced last year which will buy more than 400 new armoured support trucks to accompany existing patrols carrying essential supplies such as water and ammunition.